…with Age-Appropriate Summer Activities

As your team looks toward the 2013 FIRST LEGO League NATURE’S FURY Challenge, take advantage of the summer months to inspire your students on ways they can help people prepare, stay safe and rebuild when facing natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Museums, unit studies, projects and experiments are but a few of the interactive options available to parents and coaches seeking inspiration for the upcoming challenge. Check out some of the activities below as you prepare your kids to solve real-world problems.

1. Visit a museum. Several museums worldwide feature natural disaster displays. If you live within driving distance of one of these exhibits, plan a day trip. Or consider incorporating a museum trip into your summer vacation.

  • Natural History Museum of UtahThe traveling Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters exhibit explores the science and study of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions, along with stories of human responses. The Salt Lake City museum is open daily this summer.
  • The Durham MuseumYou don’t have to live in Utah to enjoy the Nature Unleashed exhibit. Residents of and visitors to Omaha, Neb., also can enjoy the traveling exhibit through Sept. 12. The museum is open every day except major holidays.
  • Worcester Historical MuseumNew England residents and visitors will enjoy this natural disaster exhibit dubbed Worcester 911, which chronicles the region’s catastrophes. Check the museum’s Facebook page, or call 508-753-8278 for hours and ticket prices.
  • Museum of ScienceWhile you’re in New England, be sure to go see Tornado Alley, an IMAX film showing at this Boston museum. This movie features former Storm Chasers star Sean Casey as he and other tornado researchers explore the birth of a tornado in the disaster-prone American plains.

2. Hear from an expert. Read blogs, view pictures, and listen to interviews from natural disaster experts. Also reach out locally to the experts in your own back yard.

  • Follow storm chaser Warren Faidley. The extreme weather and natural disaster survival expert/storm chaser shares photos and a blog about his adventures. You can also follow his adventures on Facebook.
  • Contact a natural disaster expert. Consider interviewing a research scientist or engineer who specializes in natural disasters. Check your local colleges and universities for local experts.
  • Watch an interview with a meteorologist.  Take a virtual field trip to Colorado to meet a TV meteorologist. The same page also features links to weather websites and activities for kids. Consider contacting a local TV or radio meteorologist to talk about weather-based natural disasters in your area.

3. Keep up with natural disasters as they happen. Track storms, volcanoes, tsunamis, landslides and earthquakes virtually as they happen.

4. Learn how stuff works. Howstuffworks.com is a virtual treasure trove of information on just about everything, including physical science. Students could lose themselves in searches on this site alone for an entire summer.

5. Do a project or unit study. The Internet is full of projects, experiments, activity sheets and unit studies about natural disasters. We break them down by age and subject below; however, with a little creativity, unit studies and activities can be adapted for a wider age range.

Enjoy your summer adventures, and your team’s NATURE’S FURY journey!